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New Papers Fill Gaps in the Dublin University Mission in Chota Nagpur Collection at the RCB Library

A recently–discovered set of papers documenting the history of the Dublin University Mission in Chota Nagpur (DUMCH) North India between 1912 and 1940 has been catalogued and integrated to the existing archival collection at the RCB Library. The bulk of the DUMCN archive (RCB Library Ms 166/) consisting of minutes, working papers of Executive Committee, correspondence, and miscellaneous materials was catalogued some years ago. The detailed list together with a set of contemporary lantern slides may be perused through an online presentation on this link: https://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/6410/scenes-from-north-india-in

The new papers chiefly consist of correspondence generated by Canon Denton C. Green in his role as the Mission’s Foreign Secretary based at Trinity College Dublin, where he was an Assistant Lecturer in Divinity (1911–46). Canon Green’s papers provide a source of information about the administration and staffing of St Columba’s College in Hazaribagh, and about the activities and experiences of male missionaries in Chota Nagpur; in particular, their recruitment to the Dublin University Mission, their health, travel to India, wages and pensions, and periods of furlough. The papers also offer some insights into the Mission’s fundraising initiatives in Ireland.

The Revd Canon Denton Charles Green (1872–1965), was incumbent of Coolock (1911–1914) and later of Killiney Ballybrack (1914–46), both in the diocese of Dublin. A scholarly man, he also trained clergy, in his teaching role at Trinity. He further served as Honorary Foreign Secretary of the Dublin University Mission to Chota Nagpur from 1911. His papers consist of handwritten and typewritten correspondence and related items from the years 1912–1940, offering insights into the administration of the Mission between and during the two World Wars. 

Additionally some photographs were extracted from the papers, and placed in section 11/ (‘Photographs and visual material’) while odd accounts were moved to section 3a/ (‘Accounts and account–related correspondence, 1923–1985’). Canon Green’s correspondence principally concerns the staffing of the Mission in Chota Nagpur. Regular correspondents include the Head of Mission, the Right Reverend Alec O. Hardy (1926–1935), and his successor the Revd G. C. P. Stevenson.

Missionaries in topi with child c.1890 at the Chota Nagpur Mission, Hazaribagh, from the India lantern slides at the Representative Church Body Library
Missionaries in topi with child c.1890 at the Chota Nagpur Mission, Hazaribagh, from the India lantern slides at the Representative Church Body Library

Whilst the early years of the Mission’s work in India are well covered by the papers of the Women Associates (Ms 166 section /3), and those of Archdeacon Brian Harvey as a former missionary and acting head of Mission, 1951–55 (Ms 166/ section /10) there were some gaps for the 1930s and 40s. Whilst the minutes and working papers of the Executive Committee are rich in detail from 1952 onwards, there are no minute books before that date. Perhaps in the course of time more material may come to light, which may be added to the collection and complete the rich archive now available. Canon Green’s papers partly fill the information gap with particular evidence about the experiences of male Mission workers.

The collection was catalogued by Emily Jennings, a graduate student on the MA Archives & Records Management at University College Dublin, who completed an intern placement at the RCB Library as part of her training earlier this year.

The detailed catalogue list including Canon Green’s papers (section 10A) may be viewed as a pdf at this link.

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